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Vale – Colin Munro

Former head of ABC Radio's Rural Department and long-time Australian country music supporter Colin Munro died yesterday (Monday November 29), at Moss Vale, NSW.

Colin had a career spanning some 40 years with the ABC. He was the second-longest serving head of the Rural Department between 1985 and 1995.

He had slipped progressively into advanced dementia in the past year and suffered several strokes last Friday, remaining in a coma until his death.

Colin turned 70 last July.

Described as "one of those larger than life characters of ABC Rural's history", he was well known as a raconteur and speech maker.

Colin Munro made a major contribution to communities across regional Australia and was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2007 for service to regional Australia through the promotion and preservation of rural culture, particularly through television and radio broadcasting.

In country music, Colin was perhaps best known for his involvement in the Star Maker talent quest.

He was chairman of the judging panel since inception of the competition in 1979 until his retirement in 2006.

"When we were looking for judges for the first Star Maker," said originator Max Ellis, "we were looking to establish a highly professional panel of great reputation and integrity", Max said.

Colin was at the peak of his career in radio and television by the late 1970s and was known in country music circles for his "Big Country TV" television program on the ABC about Tamworth country music in 1969 and for his on-air activities with the program he pioneered now known as "Australia All Over".

"Through his time as Chairman of the Star maker judging panel, Colin's sense of responsibility, his judgment, his leadership and his unwavering belief in Australian country music have played a pivotal role in shaping Star Maker into the un-matched launching pad for new talent it is today," Max said.

Colin Munro loved all things Scottish and Celtic and often finished speeches with his own version of the Old Irish Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand
... ten minutes before the Devil knows you're dead.

A memorial service to celebrate Colin's life will be held in the Burrawang (NSW) School of Arts Hall on Tuesday December 7 at 12 noon. By request no flowers, donations in Colin's memory to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.



"Country Crossroads" back on air

"Country Crossroads" returned for its new fifth season last Thursday (November 25) on Foxtel Optus and Austar's Aurora community pay TV channel.

This is the series third year on air.

So far it has featured artists including Johnny Chester, Gary Ellis, Tim Farren, Craig Giles, Travers Tex Hammond, Bec Hance, Peter Pratt, Melinda Schneider and, Felicity Urquhart.

Ireland's Daniel O’Donnell appears in an exclusive interview with host Rob Foenander in the current series while whilst Scotland's Isla Grant makes a return appearance to the program.

The show is unique in its profile of artists who are at different stages of their career. Some of these being seen on Australian television for the first time by up to 35.000 viewers weekly.

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Another award for Graham

Graham Rodger was presented with a prestigious award in Rockhampton earlier this month.

It was through the Regional Community & Achievement Awards, an Arts & Cultural Award for his songwriting and contribution to the community and to the industry.

Graham was also announced last week as a dual finalist in the 2011 Golden Guitar Awards, for Bush Ballad (Angels Without Halos) and Heritage Song of the Year (The Cooper Coming Down).


JW to celebrate anniversary with QSO

John Williamson will perform with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Saturday March 19 to celebrate his career milestone of four decades.

With John's work translated into orchestral scores, the special Brisbane performance will bring his anthems, enduring hits and stories to the stage, enhanced like never before.

The 2010 ARIA Hall of Fame inductee has covered a lot of territory since Old Man Emu kicked off his amazing run in 1970 and he has made an enormous contribution to Australia's musical heritage since with a catalogue of more than 350 songs and sales of over four million recordings.

His awards include 24 Golden Guitars, multi ARIA, "MO" and APRA Awards and Platinum and Gold albums.

A champion of "fair dinkum" causes, John chronicles the nation's spirit, character, defining moments and the environment with ballads inspiring resilience and national pride.

Tickets for once only Brisbane show with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra go on sale this coming Monday (December 6) through

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Dolly to tour Australia

Following in the footsteps of her well known Islands In The Stream recording partner Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton has announced she plans to tour Australia next year.

The tour is being looked at for the American fall (or our Spring) 2011 and will support the release of a planned album of new material.

It's been suggested the tour will start in America mid year and will also include European dates.

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New poetry competition for Tamworth

Organisers of the Country Energy Tamworth Bush Poetry Competition have announced a new event for the 2011 Festival.

The Children's Bush Poetry Competition will be held on Monday, January 17 from 8:30am at St Edwards Hall in Hillvue Road.

It will comprise two age groups: Under 11s and 11-15 with two sections: Original and Traditional or Established Works.

The existing Bush Poetry Competition will have heats at West Tamworth League Club on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (18th, 20th and 21st) with the finals set for Saturday (22nd).

A reminder for potential entrants in the Blackened Billy Verse Competition, entries close on Tuesday, November 30.

Entry forms for any of these competitions can be obtained by emailing or by sending a stamped, self addressed envelope to PO Box 3001 West Tamworth 2340.



Golden Guitar finalists announced

Finalists for the Jayco 2011 Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitar Awards) were announced in Sydney today.

Leading the field are Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan and The McClymonts.

Kasey has snared seven finalist berths from her new album Little Bird... Lee has six from his latest album Planet Country and The McClymonts have five.

Other notable multi-finalists are Graeme Connors with four, Luke Austen, Dianna Corcoran and McAlister Kemp with three each.

For Album of the Year, the finalists are Keep Breathing by Dianna Corcoran, Little Bird by Kasey Chambers, Planet Country by Lee Kernaghan, Still Walking by Graeme Connors and Wrapped Up Good by The McClymonts.

For Female Artist of the Year... Catherine Britt for Can't Change A Thing, Kasey Chambers for Little Bird, Dianna Corcoran for Thank You For Cheating On Me, Tracy Killeen for Brave and Melinda Schneider for The Deadwood Stage.

For Male Artist of the Year... Luke Austen for She's So You, Adam Brand for It's Gonna Be OK, Graeme Connors for A Good Life, Lee Kernaghan for Planet Country and Markus Meier for A Different Land.

For Song of the Year... All The Money's Gone by Graeme Connors, Better Than This by Rod McCormack & Adam Harvey, It Don't Buy You Love by Drew McAlister & Mike Carr, Little Bird by Kasey Chambers and Planet Country by Lee Kernaghan, Matt Scullion, Garth Porter & Colin Buchanan.

For Bush Ballad of the Year... The Battered Billy Tin, written by Shaza Leigh & Ben Jacobs, recorded by Brian Letton; The Cooper Coming Down, written and recorded by Graham Rodger; Every Time He Travels Through Cloncurry, written by Peter Denahy, recorded by Luke Austen; Kings Without A Crown, written by Ray Rose, recorded by Tom Maxwell; and Say G'Day From Me, written and recorded by Ian Quinn.

For New Talent of the Year... Luke Austen for She's So You, Tracy Killeen for Brave, McAlister Kemp for All Kinds Of Tough, Markus Meier for A Different Land and Peter McWhirter for I Will Stand By You.

For Group or Duo of the Year... The Bostocks with Not By A Long Shot, Jonah's Road with End Of The World, McAlister Kemp with All Kinds Of Tough, The McClymonts with Wrapped Up Good and The Sunny Cowgirls with Summer.

For Vocal Collaboration of the Year... Kasey Chambers & Kevin Bennett with Love Like A Hurricane, Adam Harvey & Troy Cassar-Daley with Seven Spanish Angels, Adam Harvey & The McClymonts with Both Sides Now, Anne Kirkpatrick & Bill Chambers with Here We Are and McAlister Kemp & Adam Brand with Sing Me Home.

For Heritage Song of the Year... Angels Without Halos (written and recorded by Graham Rodger), Australian Boy (written by Lee Kernaghan, Col Buchanan & Garth Porter, recorded by Lee), Children Of The Gurindji (written by Sara Storer, recorded by Sara Storer and Kev Carmody), Nullabor (The Biggest Backyard) (written and recorded by Kasey Chambers) and Sacred Bones (written by Luke Austen and Troy Cassar-Daley, recorded by Luke).

For Instrumental of the Year... Badl Bounce by Steve Passfield, Dixie Breakdown by Ian Simpson & John Kane, Optimystical by Michael Fix, Pronto Tonto by Brendan Radford and Run And Hide by The Bostocks.

For Video Clip of the Year... Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy, Sara Storer's Calling Me Home, Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Mall, Kasey Chambers' Little Bird and The McClymonts' Wrapped Up Good.

For Single of the Year... Graeme Connors' A Beach House In The Blue Mountains, Kasey Chambers' Little Bird, Lee Kernaghan's Planet Country, Dianna Corcoran's Thank You for Cheating On Me and The McClymonts' Wrapped Up Good.

Winners of the 2011 Golden Guitar Awards will be announced in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, on Saturday, January 22.

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Beccy and Ray to host Awards

Beccy Cole will host the 2010 Golden Guitar Awards with radio star Ray Hadley.

The hosting was announced this morning at the same time as the announcement of Awards finalists.

A long time supporter of country music, Ray said, "I am honoured to be hosting the 39th Country Music Awards of Australia, each year I listen out to hear who has picked up a Golden Guitar trophy.

"To be asked to be involved in the 2011 presentation will give me the chance to share in the excitement of the night. Having my mate and country music star Beccy Cole join me as co-host will make the night even more memorable.

"Tamworth in January 2011, that's where I'll be."


Tamworth Council announces Festival board

Tamworth's Northern Daily Leader reported today that Tamworth Regional Council adopted a proposal at its ordinary meeting on Tuesday night to establish a corporate entity that would be responsible for venue co-ordination, engaging sponsorship, licensing, financial support and commercialisation of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The paper quoted new Mayor Col Murray as saying carving a future direction for the Festival had not been without problems but he was adamant the past would remain the past under a new independent and all-inclusive management board.

The board would comprise representatives from the Council, Tourism Tamworth, the Country Music Association of Australia, police, Festival stakeholders and the community.

Councillor Murray, who would chair the board, told The Leader he would ensure the future of the Festival remained the focus of the board.

"I will send a very strong message to the board members that we must forget the past and concentrate on the future," he said. "It's an enormous responsibility and we carry this responsibility, not just for the stakeholders, but for all the citizens of Tamworth and the wider community."

Councillor Murray said when a blueprint for the Festival's direction was proposed that didn't include artists, musicians, venue operators, media and other stakeholders, he and the Council's new General Manager Paul Bennett recognised there was a problem.

"We did a lot of soul searching over this," he said. "We had a new chair at Tourism Tamworth, a new Mayor, a new GM and it was a great opportunity to have a bit of a rethink. We engaged with the stakeholders who we feel did have a strong case for a little massaging of the proposed board structure.

"And this recommendation is the outcome of all the consultation we've had."

The Council will now call for expressions of interest from the community for positions on the board.


New album from Norma

Golden Guitar winner Norma O'Hara Murphy has released a new album titled Whiskey Gully Road.

After a long absence from the music scene, singer/songwriter Norma has returned to the recording studio and completed album number 10 after a 10 year break.

Norma's last album was her Live project recorded and filmed in Bundaberg in 2000 and she has been quite busy since then moving from her NSW home at Uralla to the Warwick area in Queensland.

Whiskey Gully Road is described as an album that will "certainly hit the spot" with her legion of fans, another "wonderful collection of Norma O'Hara Murphy originals with some classic new tracks that are bound to win over a whole new generation of fans".

It contains "a typical splash of folk/country and contemporary tracks, tales of bushrangers and some strong messages, songs that every Aussie can be proud of".

Whiskey Gully Road, the location, is near Stanthorpe and the song of the same name is based on historical facts, a spokesman for Norma said, "back from the late 1800s when illegal whiskey stills operated in the area".

Meanwhile, it's been announced that a "Friends of Norma" Reunion is planned to be held during Tamworth in 2011.

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Oprah films Australian episode with Keith and Nicole

Oprah Winfrey has started her Australian love affair early recording a special episode as a teaser to her December tour down under with Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman.

The show, to air locally next Tuesday, will feature a performance by Keith and a sit down between Winfrey and Nicole.

Keith and Nicole have also been confirmed to appear during the Sydney broadcasts to be taped at the Opera House on Tuesday December 14.

Nicole is expected to share intimate details of her family life and the Oscar buzz surrounding her latest film, "Rabbit Hole".

Everyday Australians will also feature during the sneak preview, giving Oprah's 300 lucky viewers advice on what to expect when they arrive here.

With just weeks before "Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure," Winfrey said in a statement, "we've got a case of Aussie fever! I can't wait."

The media release also confirmed more than 350,000 requests were received for tickets to the Sydney shows with more than 95 percent allocated to Australian residents.

A small team of Oprah's producers have already secreted into the country, meeting with representatives from Tourism Australia and state officials in September.

The Sydney shows will air on Channel 10 in prime-time slots in January.


Peter to host inaugural Blue Shoe Awards

Peter Denahy (pictured) has been confirmed as host for the inaugural Blue Shoe Awards to be staged on Wednesday December 15 in Toukley on the NSW Central Coast.

The Awards were instigated by Darren Scott and Dane Sharp, operators of Channel C Australia, a website set-up as an online media resource and community for Australian country music fans and artists.

Members of the website were invited to nominate and vote in the Awards' 11 categories... Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group or Duo, Best Instrumental, Best Video, Best Debut Single, Best Bush Ballad, Best Comedy Song, Best Song and Best Album.

Organisers say the presentation function will be "an extremely fun, casual evening featuring guest performances" and "will also include an auction supporting Ian Thorpe's Fountain For Youth organisation".

Award winners will be presented with a blue coloured O'Dwyer Horseshoe.

The Blue Shoe Awards 2010 will be streamed live on


Rob reappointed to CMA Board

Australian music businessman Rob Potts (pictured) has been reappointed to the Board of the American CMA (Country Music Association).

The head of Entertainment Edge, Rob was appointed to the Board as a Director at Large. He was first appointed to this Board in 2003 and has served continuously since with the completion of his 2011 term to make it nine years in total.

In 2004, Rob established the CMA Global Task Force: Australian Advisory Group which he continues to chair today. The group's dual objectives are to provide specific information and advice to the full CMA Board on matters relating to the development and growth of country music business between the USA and Australia and to help raise the profile and develop and grow the domestic Australian country music market.

The group comprises Bob Aird (Managing Director, Universal Music Publishing), Michael Chugg (Executive Director, Chugg Entertainment), Tim Daley (Program Director, Country Music Channel), Tim Holland (Label Manager, ABC Country Music), Jonathon Moran (entertainment writer, Sunday Telegraph), Milly Petriella (Director, Membership APRA/AMCOS), Mark Pope (Managing Director, Mark Pope Music), Joan Warner (Chief Executive, Commercial Radio Australia), Gavin Ward (Managing Director, Leading Edge Retail Group) and Robyn Watts (media consultant).

Rob has also been at the forefront of the recent significant growth of international country music artists touring in Australia.

Working with Chugg Entertainment and XYZ Network's CMC (Country Music Channel) he has also driven the establishment of several new country music festivals under the "CMC Rocks" brand that currently has events in the NSW Hunter Valley and Townsville.


Chart Update – Lee hangs on to the top spot

Lee Kernaghan is number one for the second week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with his hit Love In The Time Of Drought.

Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl is steady at two while and Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze edges up one to three and Kasey Chambers' Little Bird is at four.

Beccy Cole's Here You Come Again is also up one to five, The Bobkatz' The Old HR is up two to six as is Luke Austen's She's So You to seven.

Peter McWhirter's I Will Stand By You is another double place rise to eight while Graeme Connors' All The Money's Gone is at nine and America's Sugarland is at 10 with Stuck Like Glue.

Bullet performers for the week include Luke O'Shea's Midnight Train (14 to 11), Sara Storer's Tears (23 to 20), Jayne Denham (pictured) with Feral Kev & General Leroy (25 to 21) and McAlister Kemp's Hell Yeah (27 to 24).

One new entry to the chart this week, Keith Urban's Put You In A Song (in at 30).

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2TM announces Tamworth Festival coverage

Tamworth radio station 2TM, instigators of the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Golden Guitar Awards in 1973, have announced extensive planned coverage of the 2011 Festival and Awards.

The station says it will broadcast "all the action and country music excitement" of the 2011 Festival live to air daily.

"From 6am until 6pm each day, Radio 2TM will take position at 'Jayco Place' on Peel Street located outside Festival HQ (Tamworth Regional Council building)," the station said.

The set-up is anticipated to become a highly visited location including a wading pool, palm trees and a busy schedule of guest artists expected to drop by.

In addition to the famous faces and pool, 2TM will also conduct giveaways, promotions and special festival competitions during the 10 day broadcast.

Announcers will also cross live to roving reporters in the city and will relocate to Bicentennial Park for their exclusive broadcast of the Official Opening Concert on Friday January 14.

On Saturday January 22, 2TM will broadcast live from the 39th Jayco Country Music Awards and feed their broadcast to partner stations across the Super Radio Network in NSW and Queensland.

Network presenter Carter Edwards (pictured) will anchor the broadcast.



Canberra Festival success

The second Canberra Country Music Festival, held on November 12, 13 and 14, has been deemed a success by organisers, with more than 2000 people attending.

Organisers say more than a quarter of attendees came from the ACT with more than 60 percent from NSW and the balance from other states.

Fifty artists performed on five stages during the event.

Associated with the Canberra Country Music Festival were the Federation Songwriting Competition, the Canberra Regional Music Awards and the Canberra Ute, Van & Truck Muster.

Winners of the Canberra Regional Country Music Awards were Bear Country Road by Brewn (pictured) (Best EP), All Of Your World by Leanne Melmoth (Best Contemporary Song Award), Steve Newton from Enrec (Best Production, Engineer/Arrangement for the EP Bear Country Road by Brewn, I Saw The Sun by Leanne Melmoth (Best Country Gospel Song) and Steve Cheers for his recording of the Gangajang song Sound Of Then (This Is Australia) (Best Country Rock Song).

In the Songwriting Awards, Damian Howard took out the five awards - Best Country Song Gold, Outstanding Country Music Award and Best Song by a Professional Songwriter for New Day and Best Country Song Silver and the Outstanding Country Lyrics Award for One Step Forward.

Brothers 3's Shardyn Fahey-Leigh won the Country Composition Youth Award for the song Slow Joe, a song he co-wrote with Alita Fahey. This song also took out the Country Blues (Australian Professional) Award in the Sub-Genre Category.

Shardyn is only 14 years old but has been performing as part of the Brothers 3 for a number of years. He also received a Judges Commendation for Where The Eagles Fly, another song he co-wrote with Alita Fahey which also took out the Rockabilly (Australian Professional) award in the Sub-Genre Category.

Other Sub-Genre Category Award winners were...

Alita Fahey with Leaving Home Now, Bush Ballad (Australian Professional);

13-year-old Jennifer Hannam from Kalgoorlie, WA, with It's Her New Headtalk, Bush Ballad (Australian Amateur) and Bumpy Ride, Contemporary (Australian Amateur);

Jeff Aschmann and Rod Slockee with Eurobodalla, Children (Australian Professional); and Michael Bond, Scott Gruber, John Barbara and Anthony Barbara of the band Brewn with Lazy, Country Rock (Australian Professional).


New album from Aleyce

Aleyce Simmonds will launch her new album at the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

Titled Pieces Of Me, the album will be launched at a special concert at West Tamworth League Club on Friday January 21.

Produced by Rod McCormack, Pieces Of Me has been five years in the making and described as worth the wait.

The album will be available in stores and on-line at Aleyce's website.

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Kasey on "Better Homes"

Kasey Chambers will feature with her NSW Central Coast home on the "Better Homes & Gardens" television program tonight on the Seven/Prime networks.

The Copacabana home Kasey shares with husband and fellow musician Shane Nicholson and sons Talon and Arlo features a swimming pool, a large verandah and a professional music studio.

The home is filled with African artefacts which Kasey brought back to Australia after travelling there with her mum before the release of her hit album The Captain.

There are also loads of photos on display with Kasey's favourite being one which shows five generations of her family – her great grandfather, her nana, her dad, herself and son Talon.

Eight-year-old Talon talks on the show about his snake, a diamond python named "Turtle". Three-year-old Arlo shows off his budding musical prowess on the drums.

Kasey also performs her single Beautiful Mess with a little help from Talon and a couple of her talented neighbours.

Kasey is in the middle of a national tour for her fifth studio album Little Bird. See On tour for details.

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Call for on-line listings for Tamworth '11

Rural Press Events, publishers of the "Official Guide to the Tamworth Country Music Festival", have announced that, for the first-time, artists, promoters and venues are now able to enter program listings on-line for the "Guide".

Details can be entered at the company's website

The "Official Guide" has the official program for the 10 days of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival and also includes events and activities in the Festival Countdown (seven days prior to the event).

Most popular feature of the "Guide" is the "A to Z Artist Directory" which is a treasured directory for fans to follow their favourite artists' concerts during the Festival, Rural Press Events General Manager Barry Harley said.
"Performance and artist details published in the 'Guide' and the 'Artist Directory' will now be under the total control of on-line users," Barry said.

The Tamworth County Music Festival will be in its 39th year this January. The Festival's "Official Guide" has developed to become one of the biggest and most comprehensive festival publications in the world.



Keith's new album

Keith Urban released his latest album, Get Closer, this week.

His sixth studio recording follows the success of his two previous works – Defying Gravity and Love, Pain And The Whole Crazy Thing – and his "best of" 18 Kids album which is still riding high in the charts.

On Get Closer, Keith delves "even deeper into the explorations of love and relationships that have served to establish him as one of the world’s biggest country music stars," according to a spokesman for the artist.

The album has 10 songs produced with long-time collaborator Dann Huff including Long Hot Summer, You Gonna Fly and the CD's first single, Put You In A Song.


John wins Jo Walker-Meader award

During the annual CMA (Country Music Association) International Reception held earlier this month, John Lomax III was presented with the 2010 Jo Walker-Meador International Award.

The Award was presented by CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore.

"It's a huge honour and a real thrill to be recognised after a lot of miles and a lot of nights away from home," John said. "I love taking country music all around the world. It's a common language. I've been to countries where no one spoke English but they spoke country music."

John has been to Australia many times and wrote a book about the Chambers family titled Red Desert Sky.

The Jo Walker-Meador International Award recognises outstanding achievement by an individual or company in advocating and supporting country music's marketing development in territories outside the United States. It was named in honour of former CMA Executive Director and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Jo Walker-Meador.

While primarily engaged in exporting as the owner of Roots Music Exporters John is also an internationally known music journalist whose work has been published on four continents.

He currently writes a regular column for "Country Update" in Australia and "Country Music People" in England. He has authored three books including "Nashville Music City USA" and penned numerous entries in the upcoming revised edition of the "CMF/Oxford U Press Encyclopaedia of Country Music".

He was artist and repertoire consultant for Demon/Edsel Records (UK) from 1996-2000 and is an experienced artist manager whose past clients have included The Cactus Brothers, Kasey Chambers, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt.

John established Roots Music Exporters in 2001 selling indie artist, retail exclusive and limited edition CDs, DVDs and vinyl to importers in Australia, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand.

Photo (by Amanda Eckard, CMA): John being presented with his award by Steve Moore.


Chart Update – Lee at number one

Lee Kernaghan has hit number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with his hit Love In The Time Of Drought.

Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl edges up one to number two while Kasey Chambers' Little Bird, number one last week, is at three and Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze is up one to four.

Graeme Connors' All The Money's Gone is at five, Beccy Cole's Here You Come Again jumps four places to number six and America's Billy Currington is steady at seven with Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer.

The Bobkatz' The Old HR is also steady, at eight, Luke Austen's She's So You is up one to nine and Peter McWhirter's I Will Stand By You enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Luke O'Shea's Midnight Train (19 to 14), Darren Colston's Fly Away (18 to 15), Jason Lee's Up A Creek (22 to 19), Tania Kernaghan's Droving Cattle With The Boys (24 to 21), Don Costa's Mystery Train (25 to 22), Sara Storer's Tears (26 to 23) and Jayne Denham's Feral Kev & General Leroy (30 to 25).

New entries to the chart this week include Jonah's Road with End Of The World (in at 29) and Arthur Blanch with A Beautiful Life (at 30).

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Melissa launches national tour

Rising star Melissa Bajric launched an extensive national tour last month in her home town of Maitland, NSW.

"The Melissa Bajric Show" features a "world class band" and is supported by a dedicated road crew.

More than 200 fans filled the historic Maitland Town Hall to see Melissa perform songs from her current albums together with new tracks from her forthcoming album which is due out next year.

Described as a show topping moment was Melissa brought Celtic harpist Torin King to the stage to accompany her as she performed the Henry Lawson poem The Water Lily mid way through the show.

"The Melissa Bajric Show" features country music of many styles, including Lloyd Back from Kingaroy in Queensland fellow Hunter Valley entertainer Bob Easter, a prolific bush balladeer.

Lindsay Waddington, Melissa's musical director and five times Queensland Musician Of The Year, was also highlighted during the show when he held the spotlight performing instrumentals.

To say that Maitland is proud of "their girl" would be an understatement and Melissa, still as grounded as ever, has not forgotten her roots.

"I've had so much support from family and friends over the years. Some of the faces in the audience I know have supported me since I was young and starting to sing, when I probably wasn't all that good at all," she said. "I've been living my dream over the past 10 years, I've learnt a lot, and I know I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have so much support in the beginning. This show was an opportunity for me to come home and say thank you to everyone."

"The Melissa Bajric Show" will travel to cities across Australia during the next four years including upcoming appearances at Warnambool, Victoria, on November 27 and a festival performance at Tamworth's Capitol Theatre on January 18.

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Brothers 3 make their mark

Three young brothers – The Brothers 3 – are blazing a "sizzling trail" in the country music scene with an award-winning debut album and another on the way.

The Brothers 3 – Shardyn, Tayzin and Makirum Fahey-Leigh (ages 14, 13 and 12 respectively) – are making a mark in the mainstream music world and their youth is clearly no barrier to success.

Described as an amazing multi-talented trio, collectively and individually, The Brothers 3 have worked on stage and screen with Hugh Jackman, Warren H Williams, Darren Coggan, John Williamson and many more music legends.

From "The Boy From Oz" to "Home and Away", "All Saints" and "Happy Feet" to "Opera Australia" productions and the bush musical "Quambatook", the boys are already experienced multi-media performers.

Performing folk, traditional country and bluegrass music, The Brothers 3 have already earned their stripes at more than a dozen music festivals and their songs are on regular rotation on radio stations across Australia and even internationally.

Their music video clips Road To Carcalgong and Where the Eagles Fly (directed by Golden Guitar winner Ross Wood) are seen regularly on Foxtel's Country Music Channel.

The Brothers 3 employ sophisticated harmonies and a sound that belies their tender years. Not only do they play (and swap) banjo, guitars, mandolin, keyboards, bass, trumpet, clarinet, harmonica and more… but they dance too!

The boys split their time between Sydney's inner west and the family farm on the NSW Central Western Slopes which inspires them and where they wrote the 10 original tracks that make up their debut album Where The Eagles Fly.

The rockabilly title track recently won an MTV USA Best Video Clip award and was runner-up at the Tennessee Songwriters' Awards. They've picked up numerous local "gongs" at country music festivals and were finalists in the TSA (Tamworth Songwriters' Association) Salute awards.

With their second album Wattle Fire on the way (with the video clips of the title track and Leaving Home Now – also by Ross Wood), it's all going like a dream for the boys, a spokesman for the band said.

Alita Fahey, who was an original "Simon Townsend's Wonderworld" reporter is the boys' mum.

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Ghost wins ASA Country Song of the Year

Katrina Burgoyne's current top 20 hit Ghost – written by Katrina and Bill Chambers – was named Country Song of the Year at the ASA (Australian Songwriters Association) National Contest winners announcement in Sydney last night.

The ASA contest is Australia's longest running national songwriting contest for professional and amateur songwriters offering more than $30,000 in prizes.

Katrina performed the winning song after the announcement and showcased the accompanying music video.

For the last two consecutive years, Katrina placed second for the ASA Country Song of the Year title, with I Wasn't Gonna Cry last year and Old Post Card in 2008.

"I'm very proud of the song and grateful to have the opportunity to work with the very talented Bill Chambers," Katrina said. "Until I took my draft of Ghost to Bill it was nothing more then a forgotten song in my songwriting book, however with his spooky gift for great lyrics and story telling, Bill truly brought Ghost back from the dead, I'm so thrilled to share this honor with him."

This year is wrapping up to be a rewarding year for Katrina with the success of Ghost on country charts across Australia and also featuring on the ABC's television program "Rage".

Katrina's debut album White Flag will be released in March.

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APRA Professional Development Awards

Applications for the 2011 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Professional Development Awards (PDAs) close on Monday, November 29.

Winning an award is projected to "change the life" of the eight emerging Australian songwriters and composers who will each receive a prize package valued at more than $25,000, comprising cash, travel, education and recognition.

Applications are invited in the following genre categories... Classical, Country, Film & Television, Indigenous, Jazz and Popular Contemporary (covering Pop, Rock, Blues, Folk, Hip Hop, Dance and R&B).

Two additional awards, administered by APRA, will be presented... the Jessica Michalik Contemporary Music Endowment (named in memory of 2001 Big Day Out audience casualty Jessica) and the UTAS Stephen Schwartz Songwriting Award (presented by APRA and the University of Tasmania in honour of Academy and Grammy award winning composer Stephen Schwartz).

The PDAs are presented every two years by APRA in conjunction with music organisations and institutions involved in the representation or education of Australian music creators.

"If you are an emerging Australian songwriter or composer and can demonstrate that you possess outstanding potential, enter today," APRA said.

Winners will be announced and presented at a ceremony in Sydney in March.

Enquiries can be directed to Lucia Doll on 02 9935 7788 or email

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Nominations open for Queen of Country Quest

Nominations have opened for Country Music Capital's Queen of Country Music Quest which runs annually through the giant Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

Organised and staged by Tamworth & District Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the quest is open to women aged 18-35 who intend to live in the Tamworth region during 2011.

The quest is one of the great traditions of the annual festival, offering entrants the opportunity to be actively involved in one of the top 10 music festivals in the world.

Entrants will be judged on general knowledge of the Tamworth region, the Tamworth Country Music Festival, presentation and appearance, personality, current affairs, participation in Festival activities, public speaking and communication skills.

The quest runs throughout the Festival with entrants attending a number of official Festival functions including the Opening Ceremony and Country Music Cavalcade.

Entrants will be seen out and about walking Peel Street and at various venues meeting festival-goers and locals.

Nominees can be sponsored by their employer, a local business or community organisation.

Major prize for the winner is a trip to Tamworth's sister city in New Zealand, Gore, which also has a strong country music reputation.

During 2011, the winner and runner-up (Princess) will be involved in a range of civic and community events including guest speaking engagements, social and cultural presentations, and corporate and festival functions.

Nomination fees are $200. Entry form can be downloaded here.

Further information can be obtained from Erin at the Chamber on 02 6766 4810.



First artists announced for Central Coast Festival

The first artists confirmed to appear at next year's Central Coast Country Music Festival at The Entrance, NSW, have been announced.

Gina Jeffreys (pictured, left) and Felicity Urquhart will both perform free concerts at Memorial park over the weekend along with some of Australia's most sought after country music performers.

These, in alphabetical order, will include Catherine Britt, Amber Lawrence, McAlister Kemp, Lianna Rose and Daniel Thompson.

Dozens of buskers will also line the main street.

Other inclusions in the Festival will be the Youth Showcase, Poet's Breakfast, Busking Competition, Line Dancing displays, stalls and amusement rides.

Held over three days from March 11 to 13, the Festival has become one of the most significant on Australia's country music calendar in recent years.

Entertainment will be held at Memorial Park as well as at other local venues within the Wyong Shire, Most shows will be free admission.

This event is sponsored by Brian Hilton Motor Group, Central Coast Express Advocate, the Greater Building Society, Macron Music, NBN Television, NSW Farmers Market Pty Ltd and Today's Country 94one.

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Adam's homecoming tour

Adam Brand returns home from Nashville this summer for a series of live performances across the country.

The "Comin' Home Tour" kicks off on December 1 and will showcase a career of award-winning hits as well as songs from his new album It's Gonna Be OK.

It's been a busy year-to-date for Adam who is currently in the middle of a promotional tour across North America for music heavyweight Sony Music Entertainment.

Just recently, Adam signed a deal with the music giant, which is sure to cement international recognition for the star.

The sought after US deal came following a successful 2009 when he was named Male Artist of the Year at the Golden Guitar Awards and CMC (Country Music Channel) Oz Artist of the Year.

In March last year, his Hell Of A Ride album became his seventh consecutive hit album debuting at number one on the Australian Country Albums chart. Adam's total career sales now exceed 500,000 albums and DVDs and he has three platinum and three gold albums, two gold DVDs and 12 Golden Guitar Awards.

So far this year, Adam has married and relocated to Nashville as well as being voted CMC Oz Artist Of the Year for the fourth time in a row.

Itching to return to his homeland, the star says, "I can't wait to come home. I am more excited about this 'Comin' Home Tour' than I have ever been about any previous concerts. Nothing compares to an Aussie crowd, and I sure have missed them!"

Adam's special guest on the tour will be award-winning singer/songwriter Sam Hawksley who is set to release his highly anticipated fifth album in early January.

Full tour details can be obtained from Adam's website


Chart Update – Kasey takes the top spot

Kasey Chambers' latest hit Little Bird takes over the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

Graeme Connors number one from last week, All The Money's Gone, is at number two while Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl is steady at three and Lee Kernaghan's Love In The Time Of Drought jumps two places to number four.

Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze is steady at five, Adam Brand's It's Gonna Be OK is at six and America's Billy Currington is at seven with Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer.

The Bobkatz' The Old HR is up two to eight, Beccy Cole's Here You Come Again enters the top 10 at nine as does Luke Austen's She's So You at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Graham Rodger's Angels Without Halos (16 to 13), Luke O'Shea's Midnight Train (22 to 19) and Jason Lee's Up A Creek (25 to 22).

New entries to the chart this week include McAlister Kemp's Hell Yeah (in at 29) and Jayne Denham's Feral Kev & General Leroy (at 30).

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Vale – Ian Mackay

Ian Mackay, a pioneer in the independent Australian country music industry, died yesterday following a long struggle with cancer.

He will be laid to rest at Pitt Town on Friday. Details will be posted soon.

Ian was the founder of the ACDC Cassette duplicating company used by independent artists across Australasia.

His company started up two recording labels, Outback Music and Southland Music and developed a substantial catalogue of independent artists.

Clint Beattie, the Crosby Sisters, Dwayne Elix, Dale Hooper, Rosemary Rae, Mitchell Shadlow, Harley Smith and Carol Young.

Ian was involved with the Star Maker Quest in Tamworth in its earlier years.

His funeral will be held this Friday (November 12) at 2pm at St James Anglican Church, 112 Bathurst Street, Pitt Town, NSW.



Kenny to kick off Australian tour at Tamworth

Country superstar Kenny Rogers is kick off his upcoming Australian tour in Tamworth during the annual country music festival in January.

"The Northern Daily Leader" reported today that Kenny would perform in the city on Sunday, January 23, the last official day of the festival.

His concert at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre will open his Australian tour which takes in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

Renowned for hits like The Gambler, Coward Of The County, Islands In The Stream (with Dolly Parton), Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town (with The First Edition), Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer, Lucille, She Believes In Me, You Decorated My Life, Reuben James, Lady, Daytime Friends, We've Got Tonight and Real Love, Kenny has recorded more than 65 albums (and sold more than 125 million of these) and won numerous awards and accolades through his long and successful career to date.

It has been suggested Kenny may also feature on the previous night's Golden Guitar Awards before his Sunday concert in Country Music Capital as he is currently scheduled to play a show in Auckland, New Zealand, the night before (Friday, January 21), but nothing has yet been announced regarding this.

Tickets for the Tamworth concert will go on sale this coming Wednesday (November 10). Tickets for his other Australian concerts (see On Tour) are already on sale.

Kenny will be supported at his shows by Adam Harvey in Melbourne, Amber Joy Poulton and Rohan Powell in Adelaide, Troy Cassar-Daley and Beccy Cole (plus the West Australian Symphony Orchestra) in Perth, Troy again in Brisbane (plus the Queensland Symphony Orchestra) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Sydney.

In New Zealand, Kenny will play with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. The Topp Twins will play support.

No support has yet been announced for the Tamworth concert.

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The McClymonts win Country ARIA

The McClymonts have won this year's ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award for Best Country Album with their latest release, Wrapped Up Good.

It's The McClymonts first ARIA having previously been a finalist in 2008 with Chaos And Bright Lights.

Fellow finalists were Catherine Britt with he self-titled release, Adam Harvey for Both Sides Now, Lee Kernaghan for Planet Country and Jason Walker for Ceiling Sun Letters.

The announcement was made in Sydney tonight at one of what ARIA calls its "rolling presentation of the 16 Genre Award categories" together with winners of Best Adult Contemporary Album (Crowded House, Intriguer), Best Comedy Release (Andrew Hansen, Chris Taylor & Craig Schuftan's The Blow Parade) and Best Classical Album (Tapas – Taste Of The Baroque by Paul Dyer & the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra).

Winners had previously been announced for Best Blues & Roots Album (Dan Sultan's Get Out While You Can) Best Children's Album, Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show, Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album, Best Music DVD, Best World Music Album, Best Jazz Album, Best Urban Album and Best Dance Release.

Winners of Best Pop Release, Best Rock Album and Best Adult Alternative Album will be announced tomorrow night. Winners in the remaining categories will be announced on Sunday night.

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Taylor shatters album sales records

With 1,046,718 copies sold in America in the first week of release, Taylor Swift's Speak Now album has scored the biggest single-week sales total since 2005 and is the biggest debuting country studio album in history.

Speak Now accounted for 18 percent of total albums sold this week in the US, setting a new record for percentage of total sales in a single week. One out of every five CDs or download sales this week was Taylor's new album.

The album is the 16th album in the era covered by sales monitor SoundScan to sell more than a million copies in one week, with Taylor joining Whitney Houston, Norah Jones and Britney Spears as the only female artists in history to sell more than a million albums in a debut week.

With 278,000 digital albums sold, Taylor broke her own record for most country digital albums sold in one week (set by 2008's Fearless album). Taylor, who earlier this year won four Grammys, including Album of the Year for Fearless, wrote the Speak Now album entirely by herself and co-produced the project with Nathan Chapman.

Speak Now also reached the iTunes number one album position (all genres) within an hour of its release.

In Australia, the album is already certified Gold and fast approaching Platinum within a week of its release.

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Steve, Stuart and Drew are "Slim" winners

Kempsey singer/songwriter Steve Passfield, Stuart Handsaker and Drew Walsh have won the Slim Dusty Community Mateship Awards and the County Energy Slim Dusty Community Youth Award.

The awards were presented at the Slim Dusty Country Music Memories concert on Saturday night.

Steve and Stuart won the Slim Dusty Community Mateship Awards while Drew Walsh was the recipient of the inaugural Country Energy Slim Dusty Community Youth Award.

The awards were based on "Slim Dusty's integral values in life... values which created a certain integrity, respect and rapport and went hand in hand with his identity... mateship, a fair go for all, working and living together, engaging with your community, constantly looking forward whilst learning from the past".

Finalists for the Slim Dusty Community Mateship Award were Bruce and Trish Woods and Tracey Edwards. Finalists of the Country Energy Slim Dusty Community Youth Award were Eli Matthews and Cooper Wilson.

Steve Passfield was overjoyed with his award. "I was extremely proud to receive the Slim Dusty Community Mateship Award, which will take pride of place with my Golden Guitar, TIARA, Australian Song Writing, MusicOz and People's Choice Awards," he said.

"This award, however, means more to me."

"An award given because of my involvement with disabled and charity groups and, as the certificate that's beautifully framed in Macleay Valley, or more specifically Nulla Nulla Red Cedar, says, 'a fair go for all, looking forward whilst learning from the past, valuing family and engaging with the community, and working and living collaboratively'."

Steve said it was important the people of the Macleay supported the Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Festival. "I want to encourage local Macleay Valley people, chambers of commerce, businesses and politicians to get behind this festival," he said.

Photos (top): Steve with his award; (middle): Slim Dusty Community Mateship Award winner Stuart Handsaker (right) with Joy McKean and nominator Dean Handsaker; and (bottom): Country Energy Slim Dusty Community Youth Award winner Drew Walsh (centre) with nominator Trish Grace and Country Energy's Daniel Bylsma.

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Editorial based on "Macleay Argus" story by Jarrod Lipscombe. Photos: Brenda Hyde.


Cedar Creek's third album

The Cedar Creek Band officially launched its third album, Dance On, last Wednesday during Slim Dusty Memories Week at Kempsey.

Three former members of Grand Junction, first winners of the prestigious Star Maker Quest, are included in the six piece line-up, drummer Keith Longman, bass player Dave Tyne and pedal steel guitarist Mike Tyne.

Other members are John Blight, Peter Figgett and Clint Tyne.

As well as releasing the new work, the band performed "a great night of dance music" and featured songs from each of their three albums.

The new CD features 19 songs covering a musical journey of the group from early rock and roll to country, including a number of well known instrumental tracks and three new country songs written by band members.

The three former members of Grand Junction last performed together in the 1970s as regulars on the "Super Flying Fun Show" on Sydney's Channel Nine and other Sydney based variety TV shows as well as joining the legendary Smoky Dawson most sundays to perform at his ranch near Terry Hills.


Australian Songwriter Awards

The 2010 Australian Songwriters Awards will be staged in Sydney on Thursday, November 11.

All category winners are being invited to perform on the night, "making for very interesting viewing, particularly for fellow contestants," according to a spokesman for the organiser.

Music writer Glenn A Baker will induct Richard Clapton into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame during the evening.

Finalists in the Awards' Country category are...

Robert Armstrong with Happiness Ain't A Man and It's No Bloody Use, Michael Baker with Every Way You Love Me, Michael Bryers (pictured) with Red Wagon, Katrina Burgoyne & Bill Chambers with Ghost, Brad Cole with Blowing Breeze, Kathleen Coleman with I'm So Glad He's Mine, Just Friends and The Old Man's Money, Kristal Collins with Written In Perfume, Travis Collins with Brand New Day and Didn't We Love, Bob Corbett with Mandolin, Tori Darke with Maybe Its Just Me, Karen Guymer with Building Bridges, Stuart Hall with Such Beautiful Lies, Tracy Killeen with Metro Sexual Craze, Mark Lucas with Until She's Mine, Magdalena Macdonald with In One Heartbeat and Something So Wrong, Michael Meeking with Last Train Home, Bel Morrison with Above All Else and In Time With You, Craig Pinkney with All In A Day, Jacque Taylor with Country Yodeling Hoedown Girl and Dez Williams with A Song For A Stranger.

A number of country finalists are also finalists in other categories together with other country writers including Melanie Dyer, Peta Evans-Taylor, Amanda O'Bryan and Marcela Taylor.

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UK chart success for Kel-Anne

Kel-Anne Brandt continues to gain success on country music charts in the United Kingdom.

Her most recent achievement has been for the single, My Baby Loves Me from Kel-Anne's album I'm A Big Girl Now.

Kel-Anne is currently busy touring around Australia and getting airplay for her single Rockin' With The Rhythm Of The Rain.

My Baby Loves Me climbed up the UK HotDisc Top 40 Country Chart to number seven with the artist receiving accolades from the some of the most influential DJs in Europe congratulating her on her success.

November is another busy month for Kel-Anne as she tours to perform at the Latrobe Valley Country Music Festival in Victoria this weekend, Dubbo RSL, Kingswood Sports Club and St George Leagues Club.

She has also been organising a Cancer Council fundraiser called "Country Artists Rally For a Cure" which will be at Penrith RSL Club on Sunday November 21.

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Chart Update – Graeme hangs on to number one

Graeme Connors hangs on to the top spot on this weeks national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with his hit All The Money's Gone.

Kasey Chambers' Little Bird is steady at two while third highest on the list is Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl and Adam Brand's It's Gonna Be OK is at four.

Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze is up two to five, Lee Kernaghan jumps four places to six with Love In The Time Of Drought while Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl is at seven.

Adam Harvey's Better Than This is at eight, America's Billy Currington is at nine with Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer and The Bobkatz The Old HR is at 10.

Lianna Rose's Smoking Gun is at eight, Alan Jackson's Hard Hat And A Hammer is at nine and Lee Kernaghan's Love In The Time Of Drought enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Luke Austen's She's So You (14 to 11), Beccy Cole's Here You Come Again (15 to 12), Peter McWhirter's I Will Stand By You (17 to 13), Luke O'Shea's Midnight Train (25 to 22), Marie Hodson (pictured) with Cowboys Love Texas (26 to 23), Jason Lee's Up A Creek (28 to 25), Tania Kernaghan's Droving Cattle With The Boys (29 to 26) and Don Costa's Mystery Train (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Sara Storer's Tears (in at 28).

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